Saturday, September 16, 2006

Haircut, Electrical outage, and the Brothers K.

I forgot to tell a few stories about my break. In particular, I got my hair cut by my friend Elizabeth. Although someone in the group has haircutting scissors, we were in Otjiwarongo and Megan only had a really dull scissors that didn't so much cut as hack at my hair. So part of the way through, Elizabeth gave up on the scissors and started cutting with the scissor on my Swiss Army knife. She did a really good job too, it's really really straight and I am now, if I do say so myself, just as stunningly beautiful as ever.

When the VSO volunteer was here with me I lent her my adaptor to power her laptop. I think she accidentally took it with her so I have been in a bit of a quandary about how to power my own laptop. I have a power converter (for changing the voltage from 110 to 220) that also has a European adaptor plug so I've been using that with another adaptor that changes European plugs to Namibian plugs (which I think are only used here and in South Africa.) Anyway, the problem is that the converter is only rated for 50 Watts (far less than what a laptop usually takes) so I've been plugging it in when the laptop is off and unplugging it when it starts getting really hot and giving off plasticy smelling smoke. So far it's been working and I' m pretty sure that the most damage I could do is to ruin my converter.

I actually completely ran out of money this week. I have lots of money in the bank (there are jokes among the other volunteers that I'm the richest volunteer in Peace Corps history and that I should invest in Namdeb (Namibian DeBeers, the diamond company here.) It's not completely accurate, but I do tend to accumulate money since there isn't much I can buy in Anker and since I don't get out a lot) Anyway, I have money in the bank, but the nearest place where you can get money is in Kamanjab. I gave my last bills to Lena to pay her for laundry in August and I was down to N$4 and a few 5 cent coins (about US$0.50 total.) Anyway, it didn't mean that I was starving or anything, I get most of my groceries in Kamanjab anyway and I only really use money in Anker to pay Lena, to buy Coke, and to get a few staples when they run out (sugar, cooking oil, flour, etc.) It was just a little weird to have almost nothing.

I went to a cluster teacher meeting on Thursday. We saw a large, old, male elephant on the way. It was the first one I've seen that close to Anker (it was between Anker and Ongwati, about maybe 3 kilometers from Anker.) I got some groceries, money, and my mail. I got three packages—one package of books for the library, one from Jewell and Mark, and one from the Wilsons. It was really nice. Especially since the cluster meeting was awful. There's this teacher who one of the other volunteers turned in to the school inspector because she was drunk and drinking beer in front of the learners in the bus on the way to the science fair. (read about that story from Matt's blog here and the letter turned in about her here) Anyway, she's in my cluster and I think she must drive everyone else a little nuts too because she's really abrasive. She decided to spend most of the meeting demeaning the exam that I set for grade 7 (which, honestly, was a little too easy) as "garbage" because nobody had bothered to tell me that it needed to be cumulative. And then she insisted that she couldn't write any exams this term because she had written one last term (not bothering to mention that everyone else had as well.) Anyway, it was nice to come home to something familiar after that fiasco.

Earlier this week the electricity went out. I did what I always do when the electricity goes out, I lit some of my candles and I didn't open the freezer. It was out for almost 24 hours. I leave the freezer closed so that it traps as much cold as possible. I had decided that if the electricity was still out by dinner time (over 24 hours) I'd have to cook all of the meat in my freezer and eat it. I had about a kilogram of mince and half of a chicken in pieces so I really didn't want to use it all up. Anyway, the electricity came on right on time so it was all good.

I realized that I haven't been keeping you all updated on what I've been reading (and I know you all are on pins and needles about that.) In the last month or so I've finished a book called The Persian Puzzle about American-Iranian interactions, Harry Potter Book 5, a couple of young adult novels from the school library (including a rather annoying mystery where I predicted the whole plot about ¼ of the way in and a wonderful set of tall tales called A Long Way From Chicago), and Robinson Crusoe. I'm right in the middle of The Brothers Karamazov which I actually, surprisingly, have never read and I am quite thoroughly enjoying it. I read until late on Friday night and I'll probably finish it next week, although with the pace I've been taking it might be this weekend.

OK, that's about it. Take care.

PO Box 90
Kamanjab, Namibia

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